Gingival recession is the medical term for receding gums, which is when the gums pull away from the teeth. Natural remedies, like oil pulling and flossing, may help to treat receding gums alongside standard treatments.

Gingival recession can expose areas of the teeth, leading to sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay.

This article lists some home and natural remedies that may help to treat receding gums. It also provides information on when to see a dentist.

aloe vera is one of several natural remedies for receding gumsShare on Pinterest
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According to the American Dental Association (ADA), gums may recede as a result of the following:

  • gum disease, or periodontitis
  • brushing teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • injury to the gums
  • wearing partial dentures that do not fit correctly
  • having prominent tooth roots or attachment muscles
  • smoking or using any tobacco product
  • genetics

A person can incorporate natural remedies into their oral health routine to help improve their gum health.

Below are some natural remedies that people can use alongside standard treatments for gum recession.

1. Oil pulling

Oil pulling is a technique that involves swishing oil around the mouth to dislodge bacteria that could cause gum disease.

Swish the oil around the mouth for 5–20 minutes and then spit out the oil. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water and brush the teeth as usual

A person can perform oil pulling in between meals, using one of the following oils:

  • coconut oil
  • sesame oil
  • sunflower oil

When using the oil-pulling technique, be careful not to swallow any of the used oil as it may contain bacteria and toxins.

A 2017 review concludes that regular oil-pulling combined with a good oral hygiene routine helps reduce levels of bacteria in the mouth.

2. Herbal extracts

A 2014 study found that a mouthwash containing extracts of clove, basil, and tea tree oil demonstrated anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis properties.

However, the researchers noted that further studies are necessary to determine the long-term effectiveness of the preparation.

In a 2013 study, the essential oils peppermint, thyme, and tea tree demonstrated antiseptic properties against oral bacteria in a petri dish. Further research is necessary to determine whether the effects also apply to oral bacteria living inside the human mouth.

A person should consult their dentist before using essential oils to treat gum recession. This is because certain essential oils can be poisonous if someone ingests them.

3. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that help inhibit damage to the body’s cells.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that taking antioxidants may help to reduce gum inflammation associated with gum disease. Specifically, it may lead to the following oral health improvements:

  • reduced plaque
  • reduced gum bleeding in response to probing
  • improved attachment between the teeth and gums

A 2019 study investigated whether an antioxidant supplement containing lycopene and green tea extract could improve oral health when combined with a good oral hygiene routine.

After 45 days, participants who took the antioxidant supplement showed more significant improvement in gum health than those who did not take the supplement.

The results of a 2016 study also support the use of green tea for oral health. In this study, participants with gingivitis chewed either a green tea chewing gum or a placebo chewing gum for 15 minutes per day for 3 weeks. Those who chewed the green tea chewing gum showed reductions in the following measures:

  • plaque formation
  • gum bleeding
  • markers of inflammation

The researchers concluded that chewing green tea gum may help treat gum inflammation when used in combination with other gingivitis treatments.

4. Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera is a type of succulent plant that has numerous purported health benefits. A 2017 study suggests that topical application of aloe vera gel (AVG) might help treat chronic periodontitis.

The study investigated the effects of topical AVG on oral health following standard scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment for chronic periodontitis. This treatment cleans the teeth above and below the gum line and can help reduce gum inflammation.

Each participant received two different treatments in different areas of their mouth. One area received the SRP treatment only, while the other area received a combination of SRP treatment and AVG injections into the gums.

The results showed that the mouth areas that received treatment with SRP treatment and AVG injections showed significantly improved gum health compared to the areas that received the SRP treatment alone.

5. Septilin

Septilin is a multi-herbal supplement that may help to control and limit inflammation. The supplement comprises of various herbs, including:

  • guggul
  • Guduchi
  • licorice

A 2014 clinical trial tested the effects of Septilin on people who received SRP treatments for moderate to severe chronic periodontitis.

The study found that participants who took Septilin twice daily for 3 weeks, following SRP treatment showed improved gum health compared to participants who received the SRP treatment alone. Specifically, they showed a reduction in gum bleeding and gum pocket depth.

A person who is considering taking Septilin should consult their doctor to determine the appropriate dosage.

6. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat found in various foods, including:

  • fish
  • nuts
  • seeds

A 2014 study investigated the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on chronic periodontitis following SRP treatment. The results showed that participants who received a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement for 3 months following SRP treatment showed the following improvements in gum health:

  • reduced gum inflammation
  • reduced gum pocket depth
  • improved attachment between the teeth and gums

However, the researchers note that further research is necessary to confirm the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on periodontitis.

7. Brushing and flossing

Regularly brushing and flossing teeth helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque. This, in turn, will help to prevent further gum inflammation and gum recession.

According to the ADA, a person should brush their teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The ADA also recommend flossing the teeth at least once a day.

A 2019 systematic review concluded that regular brushing and flossing reduce gum disease and plaque.

As some research demonstrates, natural remedies may help boost the effects of certain medical and surgical treatments for gum disease.

However, a person should not use natural remedies as a substitute for professional treatments that their dentist or doctor recommends.

The time it takes for a natural remedy to improve a person’s gum health depends on several factors, including:

  • the type of natural remedy the person uses
  • whether the person is using the natural remedy alone or in conjunction with other treatments
  • whether the person has a good oral hygiene routine
  • the severity of the person’s gum disease

If a person does not notice any improvement in their gum health while using natural remedies, they should speak to their dentist for further advice.

Various medical and surgical treatments are available to treat receding gums. A person who is considering treatment for receding gums should talk to their dentist about to discuss the most suitable option.

Some possible treatment options for receding gums include:

  • SRP: This involves a dentist cleaning the teeth above and below the gum line. This means cleaning the visible parts of the tooth, as well as the root surfaces.
  • Pinhole surgical technique: Dentists typically recommend pinhole surgery for people with mild to moderate gum recession. The pinhole surgical technique involves a dentist making a tiny hole in the gum tissue above the exposed tooth root. The dentist then uses a special tool to stretch the gum over the exposed root.
  • Gum graft surgery: Dentists typically reserve gum graft surgery for people with advanced gum recession. In gum graft surgery, a surgeon takes a thin piece of gum from a person’s mouth and attaches it to an area where the gum has receded.

The ADA recommend that people visit their dentist for a routine check-up at least once or twice a year. However, they note that some people may require extra visits, depending on their oral health and individual needs.

A person should visit their dentist in-between routine appointments if they experience any of the following:

  • dental pain
  • suspected dental cavities
  • chipped, broken, or missing fillings, crowns, or implants
  • painful, swollen, or bleeding gums

In rare cases, a person with gum disease may experience a painful gum infection called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This is a serious condition that requires prompt medical treatment.

Symptoms of ANUG include:

  • painful, bleeding gums
  • ulcers on the gums
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • bad breath
  • excessive salivation
  • difficulty swallowing or talking
  • fever

A person who experiences any of the above symptoms should speak to their dentist as soon as possible.

Several natural remedies may help treat receding gums. Using such remedies alongside standard medical or surgical treatments for gum disease may help to improve treatment outcomes.

People should consult their dentist if they do not see improvement in their gum health following initial treatment. A dentist may be able to recommend alternative treatment options that will prevent the condition from worsening.

A person who notices any signs of gum disease should speak to their dentist as soon as possible.